UPDATE: Increased oil shipments causing delay in fertilizer deli - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Increased oil shipments causing delay in fertilizer deliveries for farmers

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COTTAGE GROVE (WKOW) -- Some farmers in Wisconsin and other midwest states are waiting longer for crucial fertilizers this spring due, in part, to an increase in oil shipments by railroad.

In January, Landmark Cooperative ordered 60 rail cars worth of fertilizer to be delivered to its storage facility this spring.

"I'm not sure where they are.  I've got six of them in so far," said Dan Moehn, Vice-President of Landmark's Agronomy Division.

Landmark isn't alone with those issues. Experts say the infrastructure of the midwest rail system simply can't handle the demand being put on it from different industries.  Meanwhile, rail companies appear to be giving priority to more lucrative cargo.

"The shortage of rail cars is caused by the explosion of natural gas and oil in North Dakota, in the Bakken area," said Bryce Knorr, senior editor at Farm Futures Magazine.

At Landmark, several storage areas for dry fertilizers sit empty due to the unreliable rail shipments.

"We've got customers that typically might show up in the spring and think that we have a big pile there and as you could see from our locations our piles are pretty small," said Moehn.

Landmark has been able to meet customer demand so far, but only by trucking in fertilizer from wherever they can find it.

"We're hauling product from as far as Iowa, northern Illinois.  We're hauling product from Antigo, Wisconsin for the first time," said Moehn.

The long winter didn't help the situation either.

"The upper Mississippi (river) was about two weeks late to reopening to barge traffic, so that just compounded some of the issues that we saw with the rail system," said Knorr, who says barges are normally used to deliver fertilizer as well.
  
Knorr says there is work being done at the federal level to add more rail lines, but that won't help matters this spring and summer.
 
The increased rail traffic also played a role in the propane shortage this past winter, while forcing many farmers trying to ship their grain into longer wait times last fall as well, according to Knorr.

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COTTAGE GROVE (WKOW) -- Farm cooperatives are having to jump through a lot of hoops to get fertilizer to their members this spring due to major delays in the freight rail system across the Midwest.

Landmark Cooperative has resorted to employing a system of truck deliveries to make sure their farmers are getting fertilizer in time to plant spring crops, which has led to a lot of added work.

The delays are due to an increase in oil shipments by rail from North Dakota.

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